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22 August 2017

Parking Lot d’Elegance: 9 Classics Found Parked in Pebble Beach

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McCall’s Motorworks, The Quail, Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, Concourso Italiano, Legends of the Autobahn, and Exotics on Cannery Row—these are just some of the events leading up to one of the most celebrated annual automotive events in the world, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Each year, an astonishing array of hyper fast, uber exotic, and ultra luxurious cars gathers on California’s Monterey Peninsula in support of these festivities. Some of rarest, most wonderful vehicles are not sitting pretty on Concours lawns or running wild on track, but they are just lounging in parking lots and valet stands. Here are our favorites from this year’s Monterey Car Week.


Mercedes-Benz 500E

Before AMG became the official in-house go-faster department for Mercedes-Benz, Porsche worked with the German automaker to create the 500E of the early 1990s. Considering the understated car’s interesting story and the fact that my dad owned a 300E of the same body style, the “Hammer” always stops me in my tracks when I see it.  — Zach Gale


Cadillac Allante

Imagine it’s the late 1980s or early 1990s, and you see this car, a Cadillac Allante. The Mercedes-Benz SL alternative of its day might not have fared so well, but I still think it’s Pininfarina design has aged well, despite somewhat sizable front and rear overhangs. So I was delighted when the day after I spotted this car its Italian design was recognized by the presence of four other Allantes at the Concorso Italiano event. — Zach Gale


Nissan Pulsar

The Nissan Pulsar NX is a modular wonder fit for Inspector Gadget. Designed at the Nissan Design Institute in San Diego and sold in the U.S. from 1987-90, the Pulsar NX was capable of four different configurations—coupe, targa, cabriolet, or “Sportback” shooting brake by simply removing roof panels or swapping the entire rear canopy.  — Derek Powell


Porsche 911 Targa and 1941 Packard 110 Wagon

 

Which would you rather have—a 1968 Porsche 911 Targa or a 1941 Packard 110 Wagon? Both were spotted at the parking lot of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the weekend’s Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. The price difference between the two? Depending on who you ask and the condition of each vehicle, somewhere between a two to 10 times multiplier. Clean late ’60s Porsche Targas can fetch between $100-200K, while patina’d to concours-worthy prewar Packard 110s go from the low teens up to $70K. — Derek Powell


AMG G550 4×4 Squared

When you’re cruising around Pebble Beach during Concours weekend, car fans with fancy cameras are around every corner and are hoping to snipe a low slung Pagani Huayara or vintage Ferrari 250GTO. So it’s quite hilarious to go rumbling around town in the German monster truck that is the Mercedes-Benz G550 4×4 Squared. Mercedes-Benz USA loaned this $225,000, 416-horsepower, portal-axled beast for Pebble Beach week, and it was every bit as fun to drive as it looks. Really. Despite whopping 18 inches of ground clearance and extra wide carbon-fiber fenders, the 4×4 Squared is not difficult to drive or park. The extra height gives the driver and passengers an excellent view of the traffic ahead—and the wide-eyed jaw drops of pedestrians and photographers alike. — Ed Loh


Jaguar Sport XJR-15

Behold, the world’s first full carbon-fiber road car, the incredibly rare Jaguar Sport XJR 15, just sitting out in front of the putting green at The Lodge at Pebble Beach. Only 53 models were ever made between 1990 and1992 as a coproduction of Jaguar Sport (the racing arm of Jaguar) and Tom Walkinshaw Racing. The XJR 15 was a street-legal homologation of the LeMans-winning XJR-9 and featured a 450-hp V-12 engine and six-speed manual. Motor Trend’s Ron Grable did a road test of it back in 1992 and called it “the best handling street car you can imagine.” It should be—the original price of this racy Jag was nearly a million dollars back in 1990! — Ed Loh


Porsche 993 GT2

And here is another sweet homologation special found in the valet stand of the Inn at Spanish Bay—the very first Porsche 911 GT2, based on the 993 body style. Only 57 were ever made, with engine outputs of between 424 and 444 horsepower from a twin turbo, 3.6-liter boxer engine. Want one? It’s going to cost you—a recent version went at auction for $970,000. — Ed Loh


Ferrari 330GT

Ferrari 330GT 2+2 with four headlights, seen at The Quail’s golf course lot. About 25 years ago, I had a chance to buy a clean 330 the next town over for a lowball $25,000. The Japanese economy had tanked and so had older-Ferrari values—especially the unloved four-headlight version of this grand-touring coupe. But it needed some urgent rear suspension work and already parts were rare, so it would have tacked on another $10,000 to my immediate costs. I did not have that extra 10 grand, so I had to pass. Had I been patient, a bit better off, and stuck with that car through the recession and likely all the subsequent old-car problems that would have arisen over the following years, that Ferrari today would be worth 10 times that original purchase price. Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda. — Mark Rechtin


1966 Renault 16

Sitting atop the hill in parking lot 8 at Mazda Raceway and proudly bearing the 1966 European Car of the Year sticker on the windscreen, this stunning five door is the property of Ray and Carla Nierlich of Salinas, California. It carries a 1470cc motor, shared with the Lotus Europa, and because of its four-on-the-tree transmission, it is basically theft-proof—no matter how cool it is. Sharp-eyed folks will notice the side body panels are not cut the same. That’s because it has unequal-length wheelbases for each side, thanks to how Renault engineered its torsion-bar rear suspension and axle-shaft locations. Only in France. — Mark Rechtin

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